TORONTO – The Ford government has introduced measures that could temporarily strip long-term care home workers of their right to vacations.
The province said the changes are necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to keep residents, staff and volunteers safe.
Under the order, long-term care facilities will be able to redeploy staff to different locations operated by the provider, change work assignments, including assigning non-bargaining unit employees to perform bargaining unit work, changing of schedules and the cancellation or deferment of vacations, absences or other leaves, regardless if they are mandated by law, regulation or agreement.
Providers can also bring on extra part-time or temporary staff or contractors to do any work necessary, or use volunteers to perform work.
Visitors are also restricted from leaving homes for short visits with family and friends to ensure they don’t contract the virus while outside the home and bring it back.
Residents will be allowed to visit family members if they remain on the home’s property and maintain safe social distancing from any visitors.
"Ontario is implementing critical and necessary measures to ensure that we are able to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians, in particular our seniors," said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott
"We have been working for several months now, with all our partners across the system, from public health to hospitals and long-term care operators, to put processes in place to contain this virus and be ready to respond to any scenario."
It’s about the safety of everyone, especially the residents, said Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton.
"The health and well-being of all Ontarians, including long-term care residents, their families, and staff will continue to be our government's number one priority.”